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Film Review: Tiger Girl
by Becky Tan

Tiger Girl
Jakob Lass, Germany

Blond Vanilla’s (Marie-Victoria Dragus) big dream is to become a policeman, but she fails to be accepted for training. Second choice is security job for private companies and she signs up for the classes. At least upon graduation she can wear a uniform and give orders. She meets boys such as Theo (Enno Trebs), a young policeman. Most important she meets dark-haired Tiger ((Ella Rumpf), who lives in a trailer. Tiger is free to come and go, and is “partly supernatural” (says director Jakob Lass) in her daily life. She has boyfriends galore, whom Vanilla meets. She gradually grows into Tiger’s world and neglects her serious goals of a stable job. There are many night scenes on the edge of legality, as well as fights and brawls, a visit to an art exhibit and stolen art. A baseball bat comes in handy.

This was my first film of the Berlinale and, strangely, I always love my first film, no matter what it is. Tiger Girl was so magnetic, that I raced over to the press conference for the discussion with the director Jakob Lass and his crew. Lass’ film company, called FOGMA, has its own guidelines for making a film. There is no script, no written dialogue, only a kind of skeleton guideline and improvisation. There are no rehearsals, only first takes. The team lives together during filming and each participants contributes his/her own suggestions so that in some ways, it is semi-documentary – a mix of feature and documentary. Each day, two blocks of four hours filming each are made and then put together. Lass said that Tiger and Vanilla are “both secure in their habits, always on the move, but learn by (sometimes bad) experience that there is no absolute security. The music was chosen before the film was made, composed by Golo Schultz who was also a producer.

Knowing this, it would be worthwhile to see the film again. I definitely recognized “blocks” of action; the story progresses a block at a time. This is Jakob Lass’ second film. His first one was Love Steaks (2013) which won several prizes. This is a good opportunity to see what’s up in German film-making.